I've finished life's chores assigned to me,
So put me on a boat headed out to sea.
Please send along my fishing pole
For I've been invited to the fishin' hole.
Where every day is a day to fish,
To fill your heart with every wish.
Don't worry, or feel sad for me,
I'm fishin' with the Master of the sea.
You're in this dream of cotton plants.
You raise a hoe, swing, and the first weeds
Fall with a sigh. You take another step,
Chop, and the sigh comes again,
Until you yourself are breathing that way
With each step, a sigh that will follow you into town.
That's hours later. The sun is a red blister
Coming up in your palm. Your back is strong,
Young, not yet the broken chair
I was born in 1902
I never once went back to my birthplace
I don't like to turn back
at three I served as a pasha's grandson in Aleppo
at nineteen as a student at Moscow Communist University
at forty-nine I was back in Moscow as the Tcheka Party's guest
and I've been a poet since I was fourteen
some people know all about plants some about fish
I know separation
some people know the names of the stars by heart
If I were Lord of Tartary,
Myself, and me alone,
My bed should be of ivory,
Of beaten gold my throne;
And in my court should peacocks flaunt,
And in my forests tigers haunt,
And in my pools great fishes slant
Their fins athwart the sun.
If I were Lord of Tartary,
Land lies in water; it is shadowed green.
Shadows, or are they shallows, at its edges
showing the line of long sea-weeded ledges
where weeds hang to the simple blue from green.
Or does the land lean down to lift the sea from under,
drawing it unperturbed around itself?
Along the fine tan sandy shelf
is the land tugging at the sea from under?
The shadow of Newfoundland lies flat and still.
Will you play with me today...
Will you take me fishing...
Will you show me your way...
Will you tell me the difference
Between a crane and a loon...
Where’s your best fishing spot
At the Audubon Park lagoon...
WHY! who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love--or sleep in the bed at night with
any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with my mother,
As I ebb'd with the ocean of life,
As I wended the shores I know,
As I walk'd where the ripples continually wash you Paumanok,
Where they rustle up hoarse and sibilant,
Where the fierce old mother endlessly cries for her castaways,
I musing late in the autumn day, gazing off southward,
Held by this electric self out of the pride of which I utter poems,
Was seiz'd by the spirit that trails in the lines underfoot,
The rim, the sediment that stands for all the water and all the
SAUNTERING the pavement, or riding the country by-road--lo! such
Faces of friendship, precision, caution, suavity, ideality;
The spiritual, prescient face--the always welcome, common, benevolent
The face of the singing of music--the grand faces of natural lawyers
and judges, broad at the back-top;
The faces of hunters and fishers, bulged at the brows--the shaved
blanch'd faces of orthodox citizens;
The pure, extravagant, yearning, questioning artist's face;
Always our own feuillage!
Always Florida's green peninsula! Always the priceless delta of
Louisiana! Always the cotton-fields of Alabama and Texas!
Always California's golden hills and hollows--and the silver
mountains of New Mexico! Always soft-breath'd Cuba!
Always the vast slope drain'd by the Southern Sea--inseparable with
the slopes drain'd by the Eastern and Western Seas;
The area the eighty-third year of These States--the three and a half
millions of square miles;